Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

1. Old Town Prague

One of the greatest activities in the Czech Republic is exploring Prague’s Old Town (Staré Město) and finding architectural gems among its narrow lanes. From the eleventh to the nineteenth centuries, the city’s central marketplace was located at Old Town Square (Staroměstské náměstí). The medieval astronomical clock (Pražský orloj) on the west side features a mechanical exhibition with images of Jesus, saints, and fatal sins.

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The somber Gothic steeples of Týn Church are seen across the square. A closer inspection reveals that one steeple is somewhat larger than the others; these are Adam and Eve. The Jan Hus Monument, erected in 1915 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant reformer’s execution, stands in the middle of the plaza.

2. Get disoriented in Prague Castle

The president of the Czech Republic resides at Prague Castle, which was formerly the center of the Holy Roman Empire. One of the finest free things to do in the Czech Republic is to stroll around the grounds. However, you must purchase a ticket from the Castle Information Center, which is located across from the cathedral entrance, in order to visit the structures, which include the Old Royal Palace, the Basilica of St. George, and St. Vitus Cathedral.

With this custom tour to Fairytale Czech Republic and Hungary, you may see three nations at once: Czechia, home to the stunning cities of Prague, Cesky Krumlov, and Kutna Hora. After that, go to Slovakia’s Bratislava and then on to Budapest.

3. Go to Prague’s Spanish Synagogue

Josefov, to the northwest of former Town Square, is a patchwork of broad Art Nouveau boulevards, a holdover from the slum clearance of the 1890s, and small cobblestone lanes, remnants of the former Jewish ghetto. The Old Jewish Cemetery serves as a sobering reminder of the ghetto, where people were crammed together long after they died. The Pinkas Synagogue, located to the south, has the names of 80,000 Czechoslovak Jews who were murdered by the Nazis.

The hub of Prague’s Jewish community is the Old-New Synagogue, which is the oldest in Europe. Opposite is the Jewish Town Hall (Židovská radnice), which stands out for having a clock that runs counterclockwise. The stunning neo-Byzantine Spanish Synagogue (Španělská synagoga) is located east of Pařížská and is the venue for classical music. This magnificent Neoclassical synagogue in Prague bears witness to more than a millennium of Jewish migration and hardship.

4. Visit Plzeň to get your beer history.

Industrial Plzeň (Pilsen) was founded on explosives and beer, and it was rough and ready. Founded in 1292, the second largest city in Bohemia experienced rapid growth in the nineteenth century due to the Industrial Revolution, which brought with it an armaments factory and ironworks. Under communism, the city expanded to include vehicles and trams.

The Czech Republic’s top attraction and one of the greatest places to visit is the Plzeňský Prazdroj Brewery, also called Pilsner Urquell, U Prazdroje 7 in German. The Pivovarské Brewery Museum offers a film about brewing as well as some history at the old brewery located at Veleslavínova 6.

This customized vacation to the Oktoberfest in Germany and the beer culture of Austria and Czechia will take you to Munich, Germany, for a two-week celebration of beer culture. For more on European beer culture, see Austria and Czechia either before or after.

5. Admire the Sedlec Ossuary’s bone sculptures.

Kutná Hora, a short bus ride from Prague, has a few tourist attractions as well as a quaint, rural vibe. There are kilometers of abandoned gold and silver mines beneath the town. After the mines at Kutná Hora ran out of silver in 1308, the town of Kutná Hora, the royal mint of Bohemia, began to decline. The coins were used across Central Europe.

The town’s most visited attraction, the eerie Sedlec ossuary (kostnice), is one of the top things to do in the Czech Republic. It is home to 40,000 human remains that were painstakingly placed around 1870 by eccentric local carpenter František Rint. From Kutná Hora, take bus #1 or #4 to Sedlec.

6. Take an SPA trip to the highlands

When you arrive to the center of Karlovy Vary, you might be forgiven for believing you have taken a wrong turn and departed from the Czech Republic. This overly restored spa town feels very un-Czech, partly because more people visit than live there and partly because it is becoming less popular among Russia’s elite. Fur caps and poodles wearing D&G purses are common.

The town is still home to Peter the Great, Goethe, and Beethoven, and the traditional delights of central European spa life—forest trekking, hot spring bathing, and consuming delicious nut wafers called oplatky to mask the taste of the water—remain unsurpassed.

7. Taste some fresh wine

The advent of burcak, a partly fermented Moravian wine, heralds the start of the yearly wine market. Vibrant vinobraní festivities commemorating the grape harvest take place across the nation starting in September, with Moravia being the greatest wine region.

8. Take in the festivities at Moravia’s Olomouc

Tolstoy wrote, “They say we are going to Olomutz, and Olomutz is a very decent town.” It’s odd that not many people have realized how accurate he was. During the Middle Ages, Oloumouc served as the capital of the Great Moravian Empire. The city’s riches was concentrated in imposing palaces and cathedrals, and eventually, it spread to Brno through an industrial sprawl.

Olomouc is a perfect location for festivals because of its longstanding history as a hub for the arts and culture. April offers a number of events like the Religious Music Festival, Flora Olomouc, Academia Film, and worldwide scientific documentaries. The Dvořák Festival, which honors all of the greatest Czech composers, takes place in May.